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How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Child - September 2003

Midwives - A More Personal Approach to Childbirth - November 2003










How to Encourage a Love of Reading in Your Child

by Beth Bonacci 

Encouraging our children to become lifelong readers is a goal many parents have.  But it's not always easy.  Some of us have toddlers who can't sit still long enough to have their shoes tied let alone read a book!   Others have preschool or elementary-aged children who would rather play, and there are parents whose older children think of reading only as a school-related chore.  How can we get our kids excited about reading? 

Here are a few strategies: 

1 Be a reader.  One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to be a reader yourself, everyday.  When you read on a day-to-day basis, it tells your child that reading is an important activity.  Let your child see you reading books, newspapers, magazines, and anything else you can get your hands on.  

2 Create a reading-friendly environment in your home.  What does a reading-friendly home look like?  Books, magazines, newspapers, and other reading materials are available throughout the house.  Infants and toddlers can find baskets of books in a variety of places, such as the bathroom, their parents' bedroom,  and even the kitchen.  Children have their own collection of books and a cozy place to read.  For younger children especially, there are predictable times of the day when reading is expected, like right before a nap or bedtime.  And when you're out running errands, don't forget the books!  They are a great way to keep your child happily occupied during some of those down times in your day, like riding in the car or waiting in line. 

3 Expect your child to read.    Studies have shown that while parents encourage their toddlers automatically in learning to talk, they are less enthusiastic about their child's efforts in reading.  Instead, parents should make a conscious effort to send positive messages about their child's ability.  For example, if a child is struggling with reading, it's crucial for parents to convey the message that they believe their child can do this.  

4 Read!  Read!  Read! Research proves that the more children read outside of school, the better they do in school.  But how can we make it a fun activity that our children look forward to?  Here are some tips:

Babies/Toddlers:   There's no 'right' way to read a book at this age.  Reading can include finger play, nursery rhymes, and songs where babies are encouraged to leap in and supply a missing word.  When you do sit down to read a book, if your baby wants to flip through the pages quickly or read the pages out of order, let him.  If your child likes to read the same book over and over again, don't worry.  Part of why they like it so much is that they know what to expect and it gives them a sense of security.   Above all, parents need to communicate that reading is fun.  If you force a book on your child, book time will be unhappy time. 

Elementary-aged children:  Should you continue to read to your children after they've learned to read on their own?  The answer - YES!   Choose books for read-alouds that are just above your child's reading level.  Hearing you read aloud will help them become better readers.  Perhaps the best reason to continue reading to your children is they love it!  "I read to my kids in the hallway while they're all in bed," says Sherri McDermott, whose children are 13, 11, and 9.  "When I get to an exciting part, they all start coming out of their rooms to get closer!" 

Older children:  As your child gets older, reading together should still be a part of the family routine.  Reading with your kids is a great opportunity to have good discussions.  Continue to read aloud to your older child if she likes it, and visit the library or bookstores often to share books with each other. It's a great way to enjoy each other's company and books at the same time.  

Reading can bring such joy to our lives.  Books can make us laugh, cry, wonder, and dream.  Hopefully with the help of these strategies your child will feel the same way! 

Copyright 2003 by Beth Bonacci


Midwives - A More Personal Approach to Childbirth

Midwife speaks at November meeting

By Beth Bonacci

 Giving birth is one of the most miraculous events in a woman's life.  But let's face it - the nine months of preparation arent always filled with so much joy.   Morning sickness, fatigue and mood swings can sometimes bring us down from the thrill of expecting a baby.  Some of us may even have to deal with rushed monthly visits where we might not feel comfortable asking all the questions we have.  Many women are looking for a more personalized and fulfilling birth experience, and they are finding such highly individualized care with a certified nurse midwife (CNM). 

It's a more personalized experience, says Frosty Romano, a CNM and founder of Midwives of Monmouth, who recently spoke to Mothers and More at our meeting on Nov. 4. Despite the bad weather, we had good attendance. Thirteen moms listened to Romanos presentation and all were very active in the question and answer discussion that followed.   

Romano, who has been practicing midwifery since 1990 after graduating from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, works with her patients to reach a common goal - a safe and fulfilling birth experience.  She makes it a priority to spend time with her patients, answering their questions and educating the mother on the growth and development of her baby at each visit.  

I try to get the mother more involved so that she is better prepared for childbirth, says Romano.  

Research shows that for a woman experiencing a healthy pregnancy, labor and delivery will be as safe in the hands of a CNM as she would be in the hands of a physician. Studies have also shown that women who are cared for by a certified nurse midwife have fewer episiotomies, cesarean sections, premature births and low birth-weight babies.  CNMs   typically assist a mother in labor at a hospital or birthing center.   

Certified nurse midwives can provide healthy women with a number of services, from prenatal care, labor and delivery management, and postpartum care to routine gynecological care and normal newborn care. Romano is also a certified lactation consultant and has been active in teaching childbirth classes, so her patients can benefit from a wide range of her expertise.   

Midwives have come a long way from the days when home births were prevalent and natural childbirth was the only way to go.   Today, certified nurse midwives are registered nurses who must meet strict guidelines set by state health agencies.  They must graduate from a graduate level program in midwifery accredited by the American College of Nurse-Midwives and pass a national certification examination.

When Heather Ronco, a mother of three, became pregnant with her second child, she decided to go to a midwife instead of her regular OB/GYN.  From the moment she called the midwife to set up an appointment, she knew she had made the right decision.    

She wanted to see me right away, versus waiting for 8 weeks like I did with my first one, says Ronco.  

 She also appreciated the time and attention she received at each monthly appointment.   Ronco's midwife routinely asked her how she was feeling, told her what she would expect to feel in the upcoming stages of her pregnancy, and explained how the baby was developing at each stage.  

 She treated my pregnancy as a natural, wonderful experience, whereas I felt my OB/GYN was looking at it as a medical situation with the potential for problems,says  Ronco. 

Although most women who see a midwife choose to give birth naturally, the option to get an epidural is still open, according to   Romano.  In Ronco's case, she chose to give birth naturally for her second and third children.   

My midwife taught me to change my attitude towards the pain.  I learned to think of the pain as a good thing because it was getting me closer to the birth of my baby.

For Ronco, choosing to go with a midwife was one of the best decisions in her life.  It was definitely an empowering experience, she said. 

 For more information, you can reach Frosty Romano, CNM at (732) 774-2300

Copyright 2003 Beth Bonacci